Dallas police officers are leaving for nearby Fort Worth, where salaries and morale are better, reports the Dallas Morning News. One said the morale in Dallas “was at the lowest I had seen it.” In a Dallas Police Association survey last year of 1,279 members, about a third of the 3,500-member department, 80 percent rated morale “low” or “the lowest it's ever been.” And 354 said they were looking for jobs elsewhere. City officials, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, have acknowledged the low morale as attrition this fiscal year is expected to near a 10-year high. They say they want to fix the problems to keep good cops in Dallas, and Chief David Brown has been working with police associations to change policies that many officers detest.
Assistant City Manager Eric Campbell said city leaders need to find “creative and innovative ways to keep our … officers engaged and safe.” He said many other urban police departments face the same problem. Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland lamented at a recent news conference that the 5,200-officer department lost 252 officers in 2014, and losses for 2015 are running at about double that rate. Houston pays its officers at least $45,000 a year after their first year on the job — roughly the same as Dallas. Cities near Dallas pay far more. Plano, for instance, pays $66,000 after the first year. Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston said pay needs to be more competitive. “The city of Dallas can't afford to lose these talented officers,” he said.